Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional provides care or treatment for a patient that falls below the “standard of care,” which results in that patient’s injury. According to John Hopkins University, more than 250,000 cases of medical malpractice leading to patient deaths occur each year in the United States. This exceeds the number of deaths attributed to accidents, respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and stroke.
In order to successfully bring a claim for medical negligence, you must file the claim within the required statutory timeframe known as the “statute of limitations.” This statute of limitations changes from state to state, and failure to file a timely claim could bar you from recovering damages.
Statute of limitations framework in Georgia
Any individual filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia must do so inside of the state’s statute of limitations. According to O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71 (2017), “an action for medical malpractice shall be brought within two years after the date on which an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.”
There are exceptions to this rule. Under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-72, if a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body, the statute of limitations is “one year after the negligent or wrongful act or omission is discovered.”
Statute of repose in cases of delayed harm
Georgia law prohibits a medical malpractice case to be brought more than five years from the date on which the omission, wrongful act, or negligence occurred. This refers to an element of the law known as the “statute of repose.” In some limited exceptions, a person could file after the typical two-year statute of limitations. However, the statute of repose prevents those individuals from bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit after 5 years from the date of the negligent acts or omissions.
Failed or improper diagnosis accounts for about one-third of all medical malpractice cases in the nation. This is something that can play into the time period involved with both the statute of limitation and statute of repose for a patient who begins to experience symptoms months or years after the alleged medical error. For example, in a nursing home setting, a resident may develop bedsores due to neglect and inadequate care.
Statute of limitations for minors in Georgia
The statute of limitations applies to minors with the exception that it cannot run before the minor reaches the age of seven. Likewise, the statute of repose cannot run before the minor reaches the age of 10. If the minor suffers a serious injury, the parents may have a claim to recover damages regardless. However, the standard statute of limitations may prevent the parents claim even if the minor’s claim is extended due to being under the age of seven (statute of limitations), or under the age of 10 (statute of repose).
If you have been the recipient of medical malpractice, do not take for granted that your insurance company will handle everything perfectly on your behalf. Hospitals and doctors have highly skilled lawyers defending their actions. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we will fight vigorously to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We are here to serve you in Atlanta, Savannah, and other parts of Georgia. For free case review, call us today at 404-961-7650 in Atlanta, 912-651-9967 in Savannah, or fill out our convenient contact form.
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Jed Manton is committed to representing individuals and business that have been harmed by the actions of others. With a solid track record, Jed has helped numerous clients who have been seriously injured or who have lost a loved one obtain justice, while holding the wrongdoer accountable.
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